The less financially powerful party to a divorce may seek to litigate in England and Wales to take advantage of the discretionary provision on divorce of the English courts – if he or she can bring their case within the criteria in Article 3 of the Council Regulations (EC) 2201/2003, if they can show that no other EU state has jurisdiction, and if one of the parties is domiciled in England and Wales.

The race to issue is a common feature of these disputes. The first party to file their petition is the likely winner where the competition for jurisdiction concerns an alternative European Union jurisdiction. Where the alternative jurisdiction is a country outside of the EU, the principle in play is that of ‘forum conveniens‘. The English court will look at all the circumstances of the case to determine the appropriate jurisdiction.

These are complex issues that require early advice. Members of the Harcourt Finance Group are available to give specialist practical advice on how to bring jurisdiction disputes to a successful conclusion.

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